KISHTWAR, Aug 19: The pilgrimage to Machail Mata crossed 1.50 lakh mark today with the holy mace (Charri Mubarak) reaching Atholi Padder this evening from Gouri Shankar Mandir at Sarkoot in district Kishtwar.
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As per the official data, a total of 1,50,208 pilgrims including 64406 males, 55288 females, 30398 children and 116 sadhus have paid obeisance at the shrine till date since the commencement of Yatra on July 25, 2018. The number will increase considerably in the coming days as huge number of pilgrims are reaching Kishtwar and Gulabgarh, the base camp of the shrine, everyday.
While majority of the pilgrims are preferring road route to reach the Darbar of Machail Mata, substantial number of devotees are also availing the chopper service from Gulabgarh to the shrine despite huge fare fixed for the air service for to and fro journey.
Meanwhile, thousand of devotees including women and children accompanied the Charri Mubarak, which left Gouri Shankar Mandir at Sarkoot this morning and reached Atholi Padder this evening for onward journey towards the widely revered shrine. Enroute, warm welcome was accorded to Charri at various places like Kuleed, Wassar, Zellana, Dool, Galhar, Padhyarna, Karthie, Keejie and Kundal.
Earlier, grand reception was accorded to Charri at Chowgan where devotees were present in large number. The function was organized by President Sarva Shakti Sewak Sanstha Nek Ram Manhas.
The officers from district administration led by Deputy Commissioner Angrez Singh Rana and Senior Superintendent of Police Rajinder Kumar Gupta personally supervised the arrangements for departure of Charri from Sarkoot towards Atholi Padder.
A grand Jagran was also organized last night at Zellana village in which renowned singers presented Bhaints and Bhajans of Mata Chandi.
While talking to the EXCELSIOR, SSP Kishtwar Rajinder Kumar Gupta said that tight security arrangements have been made for the safety and security of the pilgrims and at all the places where langars have been installed for the devotees. Due to heavy rush of pilgrims, Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) has been directed to accommodate the pilgrims in Police Station and other Government buildings, he informed.
Despite huge rush of pilgrims, which has increased considerably especially after August 9, the pilgrims appreciated the elaborate security and other arrangements made by the Kishwar Police and district administration.
It is worthwhile to mention that this year, local people of Kishtwar and its adjoining areas have voluntarily arranged langars and other facilities for the pilgrims at maximum number of halting points.